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7 Things To Remember If You’re Fired

  • July 20, 2022

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woman learning on a conference call that she was let go from her job

Getting fired can leave you feeling angry or even traumatized. You might be tempted to give your boss a piece of your mind, but it's critical to stay calm. Keep in mind that what you do in the next half hour can either have a negative impact on your career or be a stepping stone to something better. Here are some things to remember.

1. Wait a Day or Two Before Discussing a Severance Package

Unless you're calm, you won't be able to negotiate a reasonable severance package. Mary Beth Maxwell, Executive Director of American Rights at Work, advises people to wait a day or two before speaking with management about a severance plan. Take the time to research the policies of the company that terminated you. Know your rights.

2. Consider Resigning Instead

You may think you have to be fired to collect unemployment, but that may not be the case. Even if you quit, you may still be able to collect those benefits. Check with the unemployment office and then offer a resignation instead. It will still sting, but at least you can save face.

3. Be Sure To Collect Important Information

You may have valuable information at your desk or on your computer. Make sure you don't leave that data behind. Even if an employer escorts you off the premises, ask to collect your things first.

4. Don't Badmouth Anyone on the Way Out

Don't take the opportunity to bad-mouth your boss or fellow workers. Your next potential employer will run a background check on you, including calling your former workplace. Offend coworkers or a boss on the way out, and they may take revenge by giving you a negative review.

5. Be Gracious If Asked To Help Someone Else Transition Into Your Job

It may be painful showing someone else the ropes, but the company will view you as a better employee. They're also more likely to give you a good review when your next potential employer calls as part of a background check.

6. Take the Time To Ask Why

Learning from your mistakes is the best way to grow. Any failure can help you succeed if you change and grow from the experience. You'll also find out if your boss followed due process in ending your employment. You may be able to petition human services or even file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

7. Give Some Time and Thought Before Announcing Your Termination

In this digital age, future employers and other professionals in your field can see every social media post you make. Think about how you can phrase your termination in a positive light. Post or tell others that the job wasn't right for you and again, don't bash your former employer. Vent to a loved one at home instead.

Finally, don't despair. Take time to heal and then get back out there. It's likely that you'll find a job that's much better. Once you start your new job, you may find that termination was a blessing instead.